UPDATED: Zayat on Paynter: ‘Next 24 hours are crucial…please pray’

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(UPDATED FRIDAY MORNING: Paynter’s owner, Ahmed Zayat, who turns 50 years old today, sent out the following Tweet at 8 a.m. EDT. “OMG OMG [Oh, my God], the power of prayer. Please keep praying. His white blood cell (count) is 9,000, which is nine times what it was. Good sign. Appetite improving. Best birthday gift. Will send more updates as we get them today.”)

Ahmed Zayat, in an emotional and highly detailed string of Twitter comments published early Thursday night, said the condition of his Grade 1-winning colt, Paynter, is “critical,” and that the next 24 hours will be crucial to his survival. Veterinarians are concerned that the infection and bacteria currently in Paynter’s colon and intestines will travel through the bloodstream and infect other organs.

Paynter, the Belmont Stakes runner-up and winner of the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park July 29, was originally sent to a New Jersey equine clinic when he got sick following the Haskell. He recovered and shipped to Saratoga, where he was returned to light training by trainer Bob Baffert, though any hopes of running in the G1 Travers were lost. Baffert and Zayat thought the G2 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing Sept. 22 might be an option for the Awesome Again colt.

Last Sunday night, Paynter got sick again and he was taken to the Upstate Equine Medical Center in Schuylerville, N.Y., where veterinarians Laura Javsicas and Mark Cheney, among others, have tended to him. He was diagnosed with colitis, a serious and often fatal disorder that causes inflammation of the colon and digestive tract. Its symptoms include high fever and severe diarrhea. One of the concerns veterinarians have for horses with colitis is the onset of laminitis.

Zayat (@jazz3162 on Twitter) dictated a lengthy message to his son Justin, who posted it on his own Twitter account (@JustinZayat) as the family drove home from the clinic after spending several hours with Paynter. Another son, Benjamin, was with them.
“Please pray,” Zayat said after providing extensive details on his family’s visit with Paynter, adding, “We are doing this for his fans.”
The complete text of Twitter comments from Ahmed Zayat (with minor editing) follow: “We are driving back from Saratoga. Tough day. Very sad. We are very emotional. Our only consolation and comfort is the angel that is attending Paynter. She has not slept since Monday. An incredible professional vet who has not stopped crying since we have been there. Dr. Laura Javsicas. You can tell that she genuinely cares. She warned us that he lost around 100-plus pounds since Monday. 
“He has been an unbelievable patient. Full of class and very easy to work with. He looked sad to me and depressed. I can feel his body temp and how high it is when I was touching him. His head was down low. Totally heartbreaking. I can see Benjamin totally tearing and trying to hold back his tears. He is a brave and class horse but he is not the Paynter I know. He still has a high fever and diarrhea. On the positive side, his feet are perfect, no discomfort at all. He is in critical condition; the next 24 hours are crucial. He needs to fight. 
“I hope we gave him the love and care and encouragement to do that. With all your good wishes and prayer we will pull through that. Actually, as we were petting and kissing him, he started looking at us with his sad eye, kind of saying I know you are here for me
“Justin tried to feed him when we first got in and he refused. After two hours he rubbed against Justin and was ready to eat. As you would expect, his appetite has been horrible. So he started eating fresh grass from Benjamin’s hand as time went on. For the first time since Monday he went to his hay bin and Dr. Laura was very happy since it was his first eating hay since Monday. She had been trying to give him treats he didn’t want. So I guess that is kind of positive.
“Our main concern is that his white blood cells go up so the infection and bacteria that are now in his colon and intestines don’t travel through his bloodstream and infect other organs, and his body becomes septic. If that happens, that is the end of it.
“So again, next 24 hours are critical that this nightmare scenario doesn’t happen. I am very comforted that the best vets and equine care from all over the country, so please pray. This was dictated by my dad as he is driving. We are doing this for his fans.”
Dr. Cheney, reached by telephone Thursday evening, said Paynter’s diarrhea had “slowed down a little today.” Cheney said he thought Paynter’s health appeared to be improving Wednesday, but then “he had a high temperature last night.”
Paynter hasn’t shown any signs of developing laminitis, Cheney confirmed. “That’s a good sign,” he added. “He has not suffered at all.
Dr. Javsicas “has done a magnificent job” caring for the horse, Cheney said, adding that she had called him Thursday evening to say that Paynter “took a little turn for the better” in just the last few hours.
“When I was with him yesterday, he turned his head around and I gave him a little kiss on the nose,” Cheney said. “He looked at me like ‘I got a chance of beating this thing.’ That’s what we need to hope and pray for.

Zayat (@jazz3162 on Twitter) dictated a lengthy message to his son Justin, who posted it on his own Twitter account (@JustinZayat) as the family drove home from the clinic after spending several hours with Paynter. Another son, Benjamin, was with them.

“Please pray,” Zayat said after providing extensive details on his family’s visit with Paynter, adding, “We are doing this for his fans.”

The complete text of Twitter comments from Ahmed Zayat (with minor editing) follows:

“We are driving back from Saratoga. Tough day. Very sad. We are very emotional. Our only consolation and comfort is the angel that is attending Paynter. She has not slept since Monday. An incredible professional vet who has not stopped crying since we have been there. Dr. Laura Javsicas. You can tell that she genuinely cares. She warned us that he lost around 100-plus pounds since Monday. 

“He has been an unbelievable patient. Full of class and very easy to work with. He looked sad to me and depressed. I can feel his body temp and how high it is when I was touching him. His head was down low. Totally heartbreaking. I can see Benjamin totally tearing and trying to hold back his tears. He is a brave and class horse but he is not the Paynter I know. He still has a high fever and diarrhea. On the positive side, his feet are perfect, no discomfort at all. He is in critical condition; the next 24 hours are crucial. He needs to fight. 

“I hope we gave him the love and care and encouragement to do that. With all your good wishes and prayer we will pull through that. Actually, as we were petting and kissing him, he started looking at us with his sad eye, kind of saying I know you are here for me.

“Justin tried to feed him when we first got in and he refused. After two hours he rubbed against Justin and was ready to eat. As you would expect, his appetite has been horrible. So he started eating fresh grass from Benjamin’s hand as time went on. For the first time since Monday he went to his hay bin and Dr. Laura was very happy since it was his first eating hay since Monday. She had been trying to give him treats he didn’t want. So I guess that is kind of positive.

“Our main concern is that his white blood cells go up so the infection and bacteria that are now in his colon and intestines don’t travel through his bloodstream and infect other organs, and his body becomes septic. If that happens, that is the end of it.

“So again, next 24 hours are critical that this nightmare scenario doesn’t happen. I am very comforted that the best vets and equine care from all over the country, so please pray. This was dictated by my dad as he is driving. We are doing this for his fans.”

Dr. Cheney, reached by telephone Thursday evening, said Paynter’s diarrhea had “slowed down a little today.” Cheney said he thought Paynter’s health appeared to be improving Wednesday, but then “he had a high temperature last night.”

Paynter hasn’t shown any signs of developing laminitis, Cheney confirmed. “That’s a good sign,” he added. “He has not suffered at all.” Cheney also said Paynter tested negative for salmonella and Potomac Horse Fever, both of which can be the cause of colitis.

Dr. Javsicas “has done a magnificent job” caring for the horse, Cheney said, adding that she had called him Thursday evening to say that Paynter “took a little turn for the better” in just the last few hours.

“When I was with him yesterday, he turned his head around and I gave him a little kiss on the nose,” Cheney said. “He looked at me like ‘I got a chance of beating this thing.’ That’s what we need to hope and pray for.”

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  • http://twitter.com/franjurga Fran Jurga

    Colitis is very serious but here’s a ray of hope for Paynter fans and the Zayats. Miners Frolic is a British Thoroughbred who was close to death last summer in a vet hospital over there. He pulled through…and won a silver medal for Great Britain at the Olympics earlier this month. This story might give some hope and insight:
    http://blogs.equisearch.com/ho
     

  • DinkyDiva

    Come on Paynter, fight buddy!  I’ve been praying for you since I heard you got sick again and this, is just, well, so heartbreaking!!!  To the Zayat Family, I send my sympathies and prayers your way too. I don’t want to have to shed anymore tears of sadness but, want tears of Joy when you recover!!!

  • Barbara

    Excellent case and gives some hope. Thanks for the link.

  • Barbara

    The Zayat family deserves a loud shout out for being so forthcoming about Paynter’s status and including the entire industry and fans in the vigil. Wishing Paynter the strength to fight on and though this, and thinking of the Zayats, Baffert barn, and the vets and vet techs attending to him while he does.

  • Kathy Young

    Many prayers for you, Paynter, my friend. You have always been one of my favorites, and I hope you are well soon. You are a strong fellow and I know you will fight with all your might. God bless your people, too.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/TSL2ON5J75IYYIUJIPZRK2SVQ4 Mike

    Why was this horse put back into training after getting so sick AFTER the Haskell – He should have been turned out until next year (deleted)

  • Pat ibaldwin

    Prayers, prayers, prayers…

  • tg1003

    Sending prayers to Paynter!!

  • Gail Gfmfla

    Buttermilk buttermilk…………..

  • Tppt2

    This year’s experiences for three year olds has been terrible.   The news about Paynter is depressing.   I hope he beats this.   Sympathy to the Zayat’s and those connected with Paynter that the have to deal with this.

  • Missy

    Prayers for a full recovery and to the Zayet family.

  • Ida Lee

    I heard on HRTV that Paynter is critical again. Dear Lord, please please help Paynter make it through this horrible nightmare. Such a pretty and talented boy. How silly of me…I thought that the early and unexpected retirement of so many of our precious equine athletes was the worse that could happen…I was so wrong…

  • Dr MaryC

    Everyone send positive energy to Paynter and the Zayat family.  This whole situation is simply heartbreaking.
      Tppt2 you are absolutely right.  This exceptional 3 year old crop has been plagued by
    sad occurrences.

  • brianh

    All I can say about you Mike is that you obviously don’t know what this platform is for tonight.  To the Zayat family:  My prayers are for you and your beloved colt.

  • Tinawilson

    There is a drug called Remicade given to humans for Colitis
    Why not give it to Payntr

  • http://www.facebook.com/hadrian.marcus Hadrian Marcus

    There is a time and place for criticism. This is not it.

  • Michelle

    Saying lots of prayers for the Zayat family and Paynter. Good thoughts and vibes, sweet boy! I know you’ll pull through.

  • Just Beachy

    From St. Basil’s prayer: 

    “…We supplicate for (Paynter) Thy great tenderness
    of heart, for Thou hast promised to save both man and
    beast, and great is Thy loving kindness, O Master,
    Saviour of the world”. 

    The biggest thoughts and prayers…I have forwarded this to our assistant and prayer chain, too, so it’s my request to have our whole church praying for Paynter and the Zayats.  We love you all and you are not alone.  Many hugs, especially horse hugs for Paynter…Fight it, boy–come on, you can do it!! 

    And our *all* for the caregivers, too–I know the frustration and exhaustion are really hard.  I’ll pray all through the night when I am awake, and I hope I dream prayer, too…

  • Patricia

    Remember Invisible Ink? He ran second in the Kentucky Derby after being given buttermilk, at the suggestion of Dr. Copelan, when he was in as bad a situation as Paynter is now.

  • Just Beachy

     Would that there was something for horses that binds the endotoxin in this disease–Vancomycin does it for humans…the biggest prayers and horse hugs… 

  • marilyn

    Paynter: we love and pray for you to be able to fight this awful illness; we wrap our arms around you in love. I pray for your improvement overnight beautiful horse. If love could make you better, you would be cured of this horrible illness.  I would also like to thank Mr. Zayat and his family for doing everything possible to save their cherished horse.

  • Tracieglynn

    I will be praying for Paytner’s recovery and that he will stay free from laminitis.
    God Bless.Tracieglynn

  • Convene

    If I believed in curses, I’d sure think someone put one this year’s three-year olds. This is a real tragedy! The next 24 – 48 hours is critical … Heartfelt prayers for this brave horse. I hope St. Francis is watching as he’s the saint for all animals. Thank you, Mr. Zayat, for caring so much about this horse.

    And to the critics (ever-present, it seems), this ain’t no one’s fault. It happens – and it’s one of the ways loving a horse can break your heart.

  • Caveat1983

    You will be a great stallion. The mares are waiting for you. Fight on Paynter

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1037781156 Charles Hogan

    Prayers are with all.

  • wallyhorse

    Absolutely.  They did not have to do this, but the fact they are speaks volumes.

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    Pulling for Him in Virginia…

  • Robyn Hoffmann

    May Paynter have a full and prompt recovery.  My thoughts are with Mr. Zayat and all who are associated with Paynter.

  • DawnP

    Crossing fingers and toes for a complete recovery.  Shades of Seattle Slew….

  • RacingFan

    I myself took Remicade for Crohns Disease, but you have to be in relatively good health otherwise because you’re highly susceptible to infections when on the drug.

  • Tveazey

    Please give the precious boy a kiss on his sweet soft nose for me

  • Vconwicke

    I am and will continue to pray for Paynter’s recovery.  Thank you to the Zayat family for letting us know details of Paynter’s serious illness.  Paynter is a magnificent horse and deserves to live.  Hopefully,  Payner will pull through this ordeal. 

  • Jackson’s Lisa

    May God bless you and hold you close as you recover and reclaim your robust health, Paynter.  I lived through this with a beloved horse who was lifted up by the sheer magnitude of prayer and unrestrained love that surrounded him.  I’m grateful everyday for the time it gave us.  God bless this magnificent horse and the beautiful family caring for and loving him through this time.  His beautiful strong heart will help him win this race.

  • Pinky

    Adding my prayers to all – and birthday wishes to Mr. Zayat

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/MyBig-Red/100000980578079 MyBig Red

    My prayers are with Paynter, The Zayat family and the caregivers. God has the power to heal as I have witnessed it many times before. May God Bless Paynter with a complete recovery.
    Thank you Mr. Zayat for giving Paynter your love & the BEST care possible.  

  • Rothgar

    The silver medal winning event horse for England, Miner’s Frolic, had a similar life-threatening attack of colitis in 2011, and recovered to compete in the 2012 London Olympics and win!. His colitis may have been caused by an insect bite that caused a severe reaction. I am posting this to give hope for Paynter’s recovery…great horses are incredibly strong and courageous. We are all praying for Paynter.

  • Just Beachy

     Yes, the deal with(most likely) any species is that it all depends on the TYPE of colitis you have.  :-/ Not fun… 

  • Just Beachy

    Happy Birthday Mr. Zayat!!  Everyone that can, go give that horse boy some BIG LOVE because the more supported he knows he is, I’d bet the better he will do.  PRAYERS CONTINUE, and the prayer chain in my church is going at it, too…it can also help to not only pray FOR Paynter, but AGAINST the disease…love to all…JB xoxo 

  • Tonilee

    Continuing my prayers too for Paynter, his owners, and his vet team.  Thanks again for the updates.  I hope Mr. Zayat’s birthday present is continued good news for Paynter.

  • harry

    I pray for Paynter. I saw him win at Pimlico allowance race and ran huge race. However the odds are against him. Many horses don’t survive this type of sickness. Anyway I pray for Paynter I hate when horses are suffering,

    God Bless

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1118988032 Kathy Young

    Revving up the prayers again for Paynter and for birthday wishes for Mr. Zayat. Props to the veterinarians, too. It’s ALL good!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1118988032 Kathy Young

    My post appeared then disappeared, so here it is again–apologies if it appears twice: Revving up the prayers for Paynter and wishing Ahmed Zayat the happiest of birthdays, though I can imagine today’s news is the best birthday present of all. Props to the veterinarians, too. They are awesome.

  • In Tears

    To the Zayat family, when you fisit Payanter, be up beat and happy. If you act sad and stressed they get scared cause they know something is not right. . Trust me I know, I slept in my truck at a clinic three times. And I could not tell you haw many times my husband and me spent nights in r barn on cots. Be positive with him when you visit. Our prayers and God Bless you all

  • Ben K McFadden

    The type of colitis has not been announced, although certainly they know whether it is infectious or non-infectious and the cause.  Only colitis resulting from a certain microbial imbalance can possibly be helped by buttermilk (probiotic), and only before the condition reaches critical stages.

    The mortality rate for infectious colitis is very high.  Non-infectious colitis from NSAID toxicity (ulcers) has the highest survivability rate.  The latter is caused by the wonderful caregivers everyone raves about. Nonetheless, the horse has a better chance if that is the cause.

    Everyone can stop suggesting treatment or praising the connections, since the public lacks full knowledge of the condition.  It is usually fatal.  That is sad for the horse. Pray for the horse.

  • Pluckedduck1

    Many of us have been there with a horse.  Best of luck!

  • DinkyDiva

    What a lovely Birthday Present for Mr. Zayat lets hope to continue getting good news.

  • Rachel

    God bless you, horse, doctors, family and all the support staff at the clinic.

  • Barbara

    Happy Birthday Mr. Zayat. And I hope all of your wishes come true. #prayingtopoweruppaynter

  • Triplecrownquest

    There are many horses that suffer through many diseases…some survive..many don’t.  Wish we saw the same outcry of support for any and all horses that are suffering…instead of just one…just because he won a big race?  Just makes you shake your head.

  • DinkyDiva

    It’s not just because he won a big race, it’s because of his high profile as an outstanding colt and he has garned a ton of fans that care about him and want to see him happy and healthy again.

  • Triplecrownquest

     Oh stop it Diva…either you feel this way about every single horse that suffers a terrible setback or disease or you don’t..singling one horse out is hypocritical at best.  I commented the day it was reported…Fight on Paynter!!   But this soap opera is old now…All that matters are the horses…not Zayat’s Birthday etc etc…good gawd

  • DinkyDiva

    Of course, if you love horses, you care about them no matter if they’re a top class racehorse, show horse or a backyard horse.  But, this is about Paynter, not the other horses that are out there suffering.  Also about how Zayat is keeping everyone informed on Paynter’s condition and how much he loves his horses.  So, yes, his Birthday is relevant since, it’s today and today, Paynter turned a corner for the good.  So, if you want to call this a soap opera, then, don’t get involved.  Like I said:  This is about Paynter’s fight for survival!

    btw..  you don’t know which charities I give to in order to help in a small way the animals that suffer everyday!

  • Dharden652

    Fight on Paynter..we will kepp praying for you little fella:
    Oh Lord
    who made the stars and the skies
    all the worlds, in all times spent
    and times to come,
    hear my prayer.
     
    Let thy spirit rise strongly
    and enter into this being
    that is yours
    to raise it up
    to lift it up
    to bless it and to heal it
    to awaken its spirit
    so that it may live in your glory
    so that it may live well
    if this is your will
    as all things are.
     
    Oh lord,
    there is great love for this being here
    it brings joy and love into our hearts
    we ask that you restore this being
    in body, mind and spirit,
    in love and everlasting glory,
    Amen.
     
    StarFields 2010
     

  • horse racer

    I want to thank the vets for taking care of Paynter. He will pull thru this. Keep fighting big guy.

  • Ida Lee

    I will repeat this beautiful prayer every hour on the hour for as long as Paynter needs it.  Thank you for printing it…

  • Ben K McFadden

    Bullfeathers

  • Triplecrownquest

     Blah Blah Blah

  • Twenty1n1

    Lilypads…

  • nu-fan

    PR:  Please keep the updates coming as often as possible.  By the number of comments posted, it’s apparent that there are a lot of people waiting to hear how Paynter is doing.  Saw this morning’s and am waiting to see if there will be one tonight.  Thank you.

  • Judith Coghlan

    Your a fighter Paynter, win this one.  My horse lost her fight with intestinal bacteria.  The vet told me $ 8000 later when I finally decided to put her out of her misery, ” It is a fatal incurable bacteria.  She started to founder on all 4. There was no ice plant around so I got the ice from a skating rink and stood her in it up to her belly, walking her 1o stalls down the shed and back every 3/4 of an hour. Never stopping.  It was a slow and painful walk for her but she did it willingly because it was helping.  24 hrs later the back feet stopped foundering   The vet was weird.  He had a fit when he saw what I had done all night.  There was no mess, the ice was over a drain.  ” That’s old school, it wont work, he yelled.  ” Your hosing her,” I said, ” that’s like peeing on a fire. I was told to do this by a vet 20 yrs ago and it worked.  Long story short I lost my girl.  Please God help them save our Paynter

  • Just Beachy

     Right now, Paynter is the horse we know about and are getting updates on.  There have been plenty of prayers posted for other horses on this blog and other news sites, and I myself have said forever that the lowest claimer means as much to me as any high-profile Grade I winner.  Many of us here love them all, think about them, pray for them, and follow them.  If this is a soap opera to you and you don’t want to read the news, then don’t. 

  • Just Beachy

    One thing you can do is read Justin Zayat’s tweets. 

    https://twitter.com/JustinZaya

    IMHO, I find this good, but I’d consider the horse’s condition “guarded” and still pray like crazy.  Give it hell, Paynter!!  And thus, still prayers for all… :-)  

  • DinkyDiva

    thank you, Just Beachy!  Fight Paynter!!!

  • Ida Lee

    Dear Blah, Blah, Blah: I don’t bet on horses, I don’t know a damn thing about breeding nor do I care. I care first and formost about the horse. Their beauty and power when they are  running toward the finish line is a stunning sight.

    Yes, I’ve cried bitter tears over the famous ones we lost way before their time (Barbaro, Kip Deville, Devil May Care to name a few). But the one that hurt the most was not one of the glamorous superstars but one that showed up and gave his best every time he was put on the track. When Timber Reserve was euthanized after breaking down in Saratoga, my heart broke in a million pieces. It is still broken. 

    So I say to you…you have some nerve bashing people on this blog who care about and are praying for the beloved Paynter. If you only care about the “anti-superstar” then you’re the one who needs an attitude adjustment. Not those of us who love all horses and dare I say all living and breathing creatures whether rich or poor… 

  • Just Beachy

    Prayers are important today, as always.  And also for the vets, Justin, and the rest of the Zayat family, for whom this is a bummer of an emotional wave.  Horse hugs for Paynter as he fights on…xoxo and more prayers for all…  

  • Frank

    Don’t like the idea of the vet crying, and being so dedicated maybe she’ll forget to save the horse’s life. It’s critical for his vet to know what she’s doing and be very competent. This business of trying everything is mistaken and also being that emotionally involved is something you’re taught not to be. Medical competence and experience is what’s needed here. Think Neil Armstrong. There’s almost too much communication going on from the owner who might be overly doting and too involved in the treatment. We don’t need to know she had difficulty finding a vein. Find it. Stop all the emoting and crying and fix this horse, you’re a doctor, that’s your job.

  • Barbara

    Having dealt with dispassionate vets before and watching them fail my horse because he was just one more case in their overloaded files…I’ll take the emotionally involved vet every day of the week and literally twice on Sunday.  
    On an FYI note, the calm but very caring Dr. Fraley will be an excellent ballast and support to Dr. Javsicas understandable frustration and exhaustion in addition to giving Paynter the best chance to survive laminitis.

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